July 7, 2008
My favorite song in this vein is John Conlee’s “I Don’t Remember Loving You.” Conlee is one of those artists from my childhood that my parents played non-stop in the car. His Greatest Hits is etched in my brain, one great song after another. He’s a classic blue collar country artist with a catalog of hits on par with the best of his day.
“I Don’t Remember Loving You” is a conversation a man has with a woman who has stopped by to visit him. She’s apologizing for treating him the way she did, but he keeps insisting that he doesn’t remember loving her. Slowly, it’s revealed that he’s in a mental institution, through lines like, “You might talk to my doctor. He stops by each day at two.”
The kicker, though, is when he offers to write down her name in case he runs into the guy she’s talking about. “Everyone I know here in this place is very strange. If you’ll hand me my crayons, I’ll be glad to take your name, in case I run across the guy you knew. But I don’t remember loving you.”
You could have a field day, actually, with the “mental institution” theme in country music, as Porter Wagoner’s “The Rubber Room” and Dolly Parton’s “Daddy Come and Get Me” rival John Conlee’s classic. But his is still the best. Enjoy the song and add your own ridiculously awesome country songs in the comments!